CEDAR RAPIDS — After finishing a close second last year and in the top five in the preceding three years, Brad Teel of Independence finally won the Cedar Rapids Bassmasters’ fisherman of the year title in 2012.
Teel, 31, speaking Wednesday evening at the club’s annual awards banquet, said it’s an honor to have his name inscribed on the traveling trophy that records winners dating to the club’s formation in 1973.
“That means a lot to me to have my name up there with my mentors,” Teel said. “This club has a high level of competition. It’s awesome to be able to compete with them and come out on top once in a while.”
Teel attributed his success to versatility and a strong work ethic.
Having pre-fished for every club tournament the past two years, Teel said his familiarity with local conditions and his ability to adapt to changes gave him an edge over many competitors.
“It’s hard to do well if you have to spend tournament time finding fish and determining how to catch them. You have to have that figured out from the get-go,” he said.
Teel joined the club in 1999 and fished out of the back of other club members’ boats until 2004. Becoming a boater, he said, has enabled him to find fish-holding spots that are not commonly known.
“You just have to go out and try it. That’s how you learn,” he said.
The Cedar Rapids Bassmasters title goes to the angler who records the highest cumulative score in the club’s seven tournaments, with 100 points to the winner of a tournament, 99 points to the runner-up, and so forth. Teel recorded 686 points without winning a tournament, although he placed in the top five in all club tournaments a second straight year.
Runner-up Dean Miller, who won the club title in 2004, also without winning a single tournament, finished eight points behind Teel. The winner’s dad, Steve Teel of Independence, finished third.
Others in the top 12 (in descending order) were Dave Reibsamen, Darren Corley, Bob Heath, Roger Corley, Dennis Olson, Jim Roth, Justin Lubbock, Verlyn Hines and Tom Milder.
The club’s annual fundraiser, an ice fisheree on Pleasant Creek Lake, is Jan. 27. Proceeds benefit the popular recreation area near Palo.